Sunday, February 18, 2007

Communicating with Diverse Audiences

Know your audience.

It's a basic principle in public relations, but it can be interpreted and applied in so many ways.

At Thursday's Puget Sound PRSA Program on Communications and Diversity, our panel discussed understanding and overcoming social, cultural and language barriers to effectively and efficiently deliver messages.

The one piece of advice they all shared: Know your audience-- really KNOW your audience.

  • Read the ethnic or specialty publications you're pitching if you can.
  • Build a relationship with those publications by, not only sending news releases and pitching, but by purchasing ads when your budget allows.
  • Get to know who the community views as leaders. Don't just look to the five or six mainstream ethnic leaders you hear about in the media all the time.
  • Recognize the best ways to gain entry into a community. If you haven't built a relationship with a community, partner with groups the community trusts for your initial entry.
  • Really take time to build relationships. Don't just pop in and out of a community when they have something you need.
  • Work with public affairs specialists who know the community and can help you communicate effectively with them.
  • Make a long-term commitment to building new relationships. If your budget only allows you to translate a news release or two, work to increase efforts in the future. It makes no sense to reach out to a non-English speaking community with one news release in their language then have no one available to answer questions if they try to follow up with your organization.

Thanks to:

Share examples of your best practices in our comments section!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Is Main Stream Media Suffering an Identity Crisis?

For those that know me, you know I am a big fan of community supported media. NPR, the News Hour with Jim Lehrer and of course Front Line are all great outlets to get some balance when on a steady mainstream media news diet like I know we all are. I am really excited to point out a series that starts that starts tonight on Front Line called, News War. Go check out the series on the Web; it is a great site and they integrate many new media tools to get viewers interacting with the content and connecting with other viewers. PBS does a great job of virtualizing their content and that is another area I am passionate about; but that is a topic for a future blog post. :)

So back to the News War.

What is wrong with the mainstream media? And to be fair, what happened to the promise of citizen journalism? So far it seems the explosion of blogs has done less to enable access to the truth and more to blow up sensational coverage of celebrities and voyeuristic mainstream news coverage. Off the top of my head, The Defamer and such come to mind. They have also had huge impact in political realm as we are all well aware. John Stewart weighs in as only he can - and what does it say about us that programs making fun of the news or news pundits are becoming some of the most popular shows on TV?

The four part series will investigate how federal prosecution has chilled investigative reporting, how the business of news today has changed in competition for eyeballs with new mediums and information vehicles cropping up every week. It will also look at the blogger movement and how the user’s appetite and preference for consuming information is changing.

Why does this matter to us? In large part becuase our reputation as a profession is forever linked to the reputation of the media, and vice versa. Often the relationship between PR and media is contensious but our individual desitinys are closely tied to each others success.

I hope you take the time to watch the Front Line series starting tonight and come back to this blog to weigh in.

Is it truth or hype? Are public relations tactics, like astro turfing, just as bad as 24 hour coverage of Anna Nicole Smith and the astronaut gone bad?

Perhaps once the series is complete we can get a group together for a showing? Maybe mix a cocktail hour with a showing of News War then have a discussion as a group on the implications for our profession? Post a comment and let me know what you think!


Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Into 2007

As the president of a boutique communications firm, I spend a good amount of time absorbing information and trends then sharing the informaiton with my publics. What's my process? I read voraciously (current reading an awesome book on hospitality and customer service), surf the Web, talk (and talk), listen to music, watch TV, go to movies, engage in discussions, volunteer, eat lunch, day dream and brainstorm ideas with my team. I also talk to my husband and our two sons. My seven year old is passionate about the computer while my youngest can clearly tell when music is dance-worthy. I'm really interested in Second Life, My Space, YouTube, and Facebook, and am currently in-love with Danny Meyer's book on the finer points of hospitality. And, have you seen that peanut butter and jelly video craze? If not, check it out as an example of social media. Another resource that I use is the PR Tactics newspaper from PRSA. I really like what Rhoda Weiss, APR (2007 PRSA Chair) has to say about the profession. She speaks about how PR professionals are so much more than publicity machines. She again validates the growth in the profession. She reiteraties how we are tapped for our strategic thinking, problem solving, crisis prowness, stakeholder relationships, and communications leadership.